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Council unwraps free Saturday parking for Christmas

posted 18 Nov 2011, 03:10 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 21 Nov 2011, 08:42 ]
Shoppers are getting an early Christmas present in Rotherham this year as free parking returns on Saturdays from this weekend.

Car parking will be free in all Council-run off-street car parks and on-street parking bays on Saturdays from November 19, right up to and including Christmas Eve.

The scheme is part of the campaign to boost festive trade in Rotherham which starts with this Thursday’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Councillor Gerald Smith, Cabinet Member for Town Centres, Economic Growth and Prosperity, said: “The free parking scheme is one of a number of initiatives that have been introduced to increase the numbers of shoppers in the town centre and keep the tills ringing in our local stores.

“We’ve seen some great results following projects such as the Business Vitality Grants Scheme and hope to see visitor numbers continue to rise. We have fantastic businesses operating here in our town centre, offering something different and unique to what’s available at our nearest competitors.

“Free parking provides another incentive for shoppers to visit the town centre and Shop Local this Christmas."

Motorists are reminded that although parking is free on Saturdays, maximum stay restrictions will remain in force to help ensure parking is available to those shopping in the town. The disabled bays will also remain strictly for the use of blue badge holders only.

Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce welcomed the return of free parking to the town centre on Saturdays.

Brij Chaggar, Business Community Support Officer said: “Christmas is a vital trading period for many of our retailers and so we are delighted with the news that free parking will be re-introduced to support businesses at this time. We hope that shoppers take advantage of the incentive and that ultimately traders benefit from a boost in Christmas sales.”

Figures published recently showed that the number of people in Rotherham town centre had risen by 32.3% in September 2011 compared to the same time last year. The number of empty properties on the town’s primary shopping streets has also fallen by 3.4% between 2009 and 2011.